CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

Tobacco: Group asks FG to enforce graphic health warning policy

Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), a non-governmental organisation, has asked the federal government to implement the graphic health warning policy on cigarette packets sold across Nigeria.

CAPPA said this on Wednesday at a briefing in Abuja.

The briefing also had representatives of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) in attendance.

Speaking at the event, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the group’s executive director said “the level of awareness about the policy is still low”.

“To complement the federal government’s monitoring exercise, our team conducted monitoring exercises in 13 states of the federation between September 2021 and March 2022, targeting shopping malls and open markets and we were able to confirm reports that the tobacco industry had saturated the markets with the products without the new warnings to weaken enforcement by the government,” he said.

“Enforcement should be carried out in other states, as the exercise is still limited and should be simultaneous in other states of the federation.

“Tobacco manufacturers who do not comply with the new directive on graphic health warnings should be sanctioned as stated in Section 24 (2) of the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015.

“There is a need for sustained awareness creation and sensitisation of retailers and wholesalers on the new policy and its effect on public health, and a need for continued education and inter-agency collaboration on enforcement of the policy.”

Oluwafemi added that though statutorily, the graphic health warning policy was supposed to kick off on June 23, 2021, but the federal government failed to commence enforcement till December 8, 2021, when the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) carried out the first enforcement exercise in Abuja.

He also said the second enforcement exercise was carried out in Lagos on March 2, 2022.

Source: The Cable

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